Cardiac catheterizations are typically performed on patients who experience chest pain, shortness of breath or have had a stress test that revealed a possible cardiac problem. Known as a coronary angiography, a catheterization allows interventional cardiologists to see the arteries of the heart and locate blockages. They perform the procedure by injecting a contrast dye and then inserting a catheter into an artery and threading it through the blood vessels to the heart.
Highly-skilled cardiologists at Holy Name Medical Center have taken the latest advancement in cardiac catheterization – a radial catheterization – and made it their standard of care. This procedure involves guiding the catheter through the wrist to the heart rather than through the groin, the long-time method known as a transfemoral approach.
Patients who undergo a radial catheterization experience less pain, quicker recovery, and fewer side-effects, including excessive bleeding. Patients are able to walk almost immediately, compared to a transfemoral procedure, when patients must lie still for four to six hours after it is performed.
In addition to using catheterizations – both radial and transfemoral – for diagnoses, cardiologists can also treat blockages at the same time. They can perform an angioplasty – inserting a small balloon to widen the artery – or implant stents, small mesh devices to keep the artery walls open.
Holy Name was one of the first hospitals in Bergen County to offer radial catheterizations and is leading the way in offering the majority of cardiac catheterizations through the wrist. Patients with cardiac concerns can be assured that Holy Name's interventional cardiologists are extremely experienced in radial catheterizations and should ask their physicians about the procedure.